Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's been a while since Alex has made an appearance on this blog, right? I feel bad about that. Stupid baby, taking up all the film memory!

So, say hi, Alex! Here you can see the haircut I gave him on Sunday, a haircut that required Mike to hold him in a headlock while I trimmed his legs and paws.

"SIT! STAY!" I'd command uselessly, as Alex panted and flailed, apparently equating "grooming" with "fate worse than death."

I even held a treat between my teeth and made that noise that Cesar makes when he's trying to show a dog who's boss, thinking I could hypnotize him into behaving.

Focus on the treat, Alex! You're feeling veeeeery obedient.... veeeeery obedient!

(I mean, I've seen Flip Orley perform four times- at the very least I should be a moderately funny hypnotist by now)

(Which, I just had a GREAT idea. Do you think Flip would be my doula the next time I give birth? I couldn't think of anything better than being under hypnosis and laughing hysterically through hours of contractions! Throw in a margarita and I'll call it a VACATION.)

This is the fourth time I've groomed Alex at home. I've groomed my dogs in the past, but when we adopted Alex I decided that there are some things I'm willing to pay someone else to handle. Climbing a ladder three stories above the street to paint the trim on my house, for example, or- YES- grooming my black dog in the suffocating heat and humidity of August.

But when you're trying to save money and a grooming table and a decent set of clippers will pay for themselves in six months, well, you buck up and get hairy.

The only thing we continue to pay for is having his nails trimmed. Alex has black nails, and I can't see where the quick is, and I'm terrified of hurting him. So I'm happy to pay $10 for that until I can work up the courage to bust out my Dremel.

Which I will.


He's got beautiful soft, shiny fur, by the way, and I have a whole bag of it. Anyone want to make a sweater? Should I try to sell it on eBay??


This morning I was talking with Mike about a play date Lion had earlier in the week.

Liz: I asked if she'd taken Lila to the library, but she said she hadn't because Lila doesn't grasp the concept of the "inside voice" yet.

Mike: And?

Liz: I said, well, Lion can be the loudest kid on the planet, but we stay in the children's section and I don't think it bothers anyone. Plus, at that library they have a soundproof quiet room, so if someone really objects to the noise, they can always go in there.

Mike: I hate those quiet rooms. It's creepy when you're in there with a bunch of people, but no one's talking.

Liz: That's because you're an extrovert. You have this urge to chat with everyone and ask, "Hey! How's it going? What are you reading? Do you like it?" People like me LOVE quiet study rooms. Having complete silence was the only way I could study when I was in college and grad school.

Mike: See, that's weird. I always had to have the radio on, or I couldn't concentrate. Silence drives me nuts.

Liz: It's amazing that we ever got together.

Mike: Opposites attract.

Liz: In college I used to hole up in the tiny study carrels in those creepy stacks in the middle of the library, where there were no windows and it was completely deserted. I could study in there all day and never see a single person. I mean, someone could have ATTACKED me or KILLED me and no one would have known!

Mike: Right. Once you got past that, it was great.

Liz: It was. Totally great.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009


Stress! Stress! Stress!

Work-related stress!

Which means that I can't write about it here. What a shame, because I think poor Mike is about to keel over from my dramatics.


The mature response would be to say how thankful I am to have a job. Which, I am. But you can only shovel your anxiety into the closet for so long before the door explodes off its hinges and sends a stiletto-heeled shoe flying toward your face, intent on giving you the nose piercing you never wanted.

Or... something like that.

I try not to think about work when I'm not there. But I do.

I tell myself I won't check my work email when I'm home. But I do.

I tell myself I won't blog about work.

So I won't.

In other news that isn't likely to get me fired: Alas, the missing library card was never found. I've lost and found it so many times that I was SURE I'd eventually discover it under the seat of my car, or in a different bag, or in the dryer. Eventually I broke down and paid a dollar for a replacement, but this time I got a mini card that can be attached to my keychain. In case you didn't know, this means that I am now destined to lose my keys.

One thing I can't seem to lose is the Washington Post, whose salespeople seem to think that making call after call is the way to make me smile and say, "Yes! I'm so glad you called again, because I really didn't mean NO the first four hundred times. Please sign me up for daily delivery!" We get Sunday delivery only, and have for years, simply because we know we won't make the time to read the paper every day. I want to help save journalism, but letting unread papers pile up in my garage isn't the way to do it.

Not only am I not reading the paper every day, but I'm also avoiding online news and television. This is my very mature approach to reducing the stress and anxiety I feel whenever I hear anyone talking about our disaster of an economy. Of course, I was slammed with news of a dismal forecast at work the other day, so it will probably take a while for me to get back to a state of 99% ignorance. I guess I could distract myself by preparing for H1N1.

So, particulate respirators. Would you go with one that's NIOSH-approved, or live dangerously?

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Friday, August 21, 2009

"They just say, 'I know I can do this. I don't know how. I just know I can.'"

The Baby Catcher, by Peggy Vincent

My god, what a beautiful, beautiful book. There was something in almost every chapter that brought me to tears, so many things that reminded me of my son's birth, so many awe-inspiring moments. I rarely buy books, preferring to borrow them from the library, but this is one I'll be adding to my bookshelf. There were just so many pages that I wanted to flag, passages I wanted to underline, that I must have my own copy.
I wish I'd read this when I was pregnant, because 99% of the accounts in this book were exactly the sort of positive, beautiful birth stories I was craving. If you have any interest at all in midwifery and childbirth, if you're pregnant and hoping for a home birth or natural childbirth in any other setting, you will love this.
You know, ever since a well-known blogger recently gave birth to her second child and shared her natural childbirth story, I've seen a lot more discussion in blogland about birth and the birth experience. Some good, thought-provoking, level-headed discussion, but also a great deal of finger pointing and name calling and defensiveness.
There are women who take issue with the term "natural childbirth," feeling that it indicates that any other experience is therefore "unnatural." There are women who have had C-sections who wonder if they can say that they gave birth. There are those who think that women who share stories of natural childbirth are bragging or trying to compete in the "Mommy Olympics," and still others who do make it seem as though epidurals and C-sections are the work of the devil. The range of comments and feelings relating to birth show that it can be an emotionally complicated endeavor.
There are lots of people out there, men and women, who say that so long as there is a healthy baby and a healthy mom at the end, that's all that matters.
For some, that is all that matters, and there's not a single thing wrong with that. They couldn't care less whether their births were "natural" or not, at home, in a hospital, via C-section, or in a field full of wildflowers in the middle of nowhere. Birth can be amazing and thrilling no matter how it happens, I'm sure. But for others, while the outcome of a healthy baby and a healthy mom is undeniably important, it isn't the only important thing. Surely you can understand this by reading the numerous posts and comments on the topic: the detailed accounts of what was hoped for and what was actually experienced, the joy and pride of reaching a goal, overwhelming love and appreciation for beautiful children, mingled with regret.
I can only speak from my own experience. I had a dream for my son's birth, and with some preparation and some faith and some luck, it was realized. Had things gone differently, I know I would have mourned the loss of that dream. I don't think I would have been, like, fall down and die sad, but yes, I would have been sad. So I can only imagine that being told, "Forget it- you should be grateful to have a healthy son. That's all that matters!" would have felt like having my deepest feelings thrown back in my face.
The way Lion got here matters. My way wasn't only way to have a beautiful birth, it wasn't the only way to feel empowered, it's not any more or any less amazing than anyone else's path to motherhood. But the experience mattered to me. And that should be enough.

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Friday, August 14, 2009


I've lost my cell phone and my library card. Guess which one I'm most upset about.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Overheard at Babies R Us

"Wait, honey- do you think we should register for this tub instead? Because this one has a little thing that tells you if the water's too hot."

"Having bathed on numerous occasions, I feel pretty confident that I can tell if the water is too hot."

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Thursday, August 06, 2009


While using the bathroom at a college I was visiting, I noticed a PLEASE FLUSH sign mounted inside the stall. If you have to be told, perhaps you're not ready for college?


Lion and I were having a "conversation" while I was driving him to daycare last week. A big, noisy truck in the next lane was making it difficult to hear him, so I twisted the stereo's volume knob all the way to the right before I realized what I was doing.

In other car-related stupidity, before I left for work yesterday I folded up my accordian-style sun shade and stuffed it between the front passenger seat and the door. As I was leaving work late last night, I made my way through the creepy, empty parking garage and opened the passenger door of my car to deposit my bag. The sun shade sprang from the car like a snake-in-a-can gag, and my echoing shriek brought a nearby police officer running to my aid.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

I was too tired to make up a good story, so I told him the truth.

He seemed disappointed. I guess it was a slow night.


We recently watched the movie Milk. Mesmerized, I watched the entire thing without once thinking, You dick!. I guess that means Sean Penn is a pretty good actor?


A colleague I hadn't seen in a while spotted me walking down the hall and bellowed, "Liz! It looks like you haven't had a good meal in a long time!" He patted his own ample stomach.

"Um, thanks?" I replied.

This colleague and I both enjoy food and wine and used to trade tips and stories about local restaurants. He told me about a new place that he and his wife have been several times, then about his recent two-week stay in Turkey.

"You need to get a babysitter and get back out there!" he said.

"Oh, we have several willing babysitters," I told him. "It's the money that's scarce."

He, a father of three grown children, smiled kindly. "I remember those days," he said.

I kind of like those days.